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by Margaret Knott
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Annual Archives
Margaret Knott's What's New on Frontenac Islands articles appear with the kind permission of the The Kingston Heritage Newspaper.

February 17, 2012
The Emerald Ash Borer is on the Move-

The Emerald Ash Borer is wending its way across Ontario killing ash trees. Aerial surveys in 2010 in southwest Ontario identified 35,000 hectares of dead or dying ash trees. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is known to exist from Windsor east to Toronto in the Ottawa area and is on the move. Can Wolfe Island and the Kingston area with their beautiful mature stands of ash escape ?
The Emerald Ash Borer is known to impact all varieties of ash trees. The invasive insect, a bright green beetle moves quickly on its tree killing spree. The borer destroys the water and nutrient conducting tissues under the bark. Infested trees exhibit canopy die-back usually starting at the top of the tree.
“The arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer in our area is pretty much inevitable,” according to Cam McCauley, Frontenac Stewardship Council. Coordinator. “Wolfe Island presents some unique possibilities for control of the borer, due to its restricted access. We want to fully inform landowners, so they can formulate a plan,” he said.
To that end the Frontenac Stewardship Council is hosting a meeting on Wolfe Island Tuesday March 6th, at the Wolfe Island United Church Hall beginning at 6:45 pm

Guest speaker, Martin Streit, Leeds & Grenville Stewardship Coordinator, will describe the EAB’s life cycle and the history of its spread, provide the necessary information for landowners to identify signs of EAB infestation damage, and to devise plans for their properties before the ash borer reaches this area.

At the same meeting The 50 Million Tree Planting Program will be presented by Rick Knapton, Forestry Technician for the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority. The program ( familiar to Wolfe Islander’s) offers landowners the opportunity to have trees planted on their property for pennies a tree. Committed to planting 50 million trees by 2020 to help fight climate change, the Trees Ontario and Ontario government program is designed to significantly reduce costs of large-scale tree planting. Landowners, in return for agreeing to maintain the trees, receive native seedling trees planted on open land by an experienced crew.
“Its all about trees. If you want to combat climate change - planting trees is the easiest and most effective way,” McCauley added
The meeting will also include a discussion about The Assisted Migration Project by Gary Nielsen and Barb Boysen. The question being: Will tree species from the southern United States adapt to a colder climate and further adapt over time to our warming climate?
Remember the date: Tues. March 6th, Wolfe Island United Church Hall, 6:45 pm. All are welcome at no charge.
Coming from the mainland, consider walking onto the ferry, After departing the ferry, turn left walk to Victoria St, turn right on to the church.
For more information, contact Cam McCauley, Frontenac Stewardship Coordinator at 613-531-5714 cam.mccauley@ontario.ca OR contact Barrie Gilbert, FSC member and Wolfe Island resident at 613-385-2289 barrie.gilbert36@gmail.com

Around Town: WI resident George Merry wants to set a date for a meeting to hear all about “Tall Grass Ontario” and how it could benefit Wolfe Island. Call him at 613-385-2816 or 613-888-8555 . Leave suggestions. “There is no work, no executive, no committee. Just your interest ,” according to George.

Posted by M Knott at 06:37 PM
February 09, 2012
Islanders .. Always Aware of the Ups and Downs of the St. Lawrence River

Some 22 years ago I spent my first year living in a waterfront home on the river. Having never lived so intimately with water, I was totally unaware of its moods or what to expect of it. Each day brought a new insight. That first winter , the coldest I remember, the bay in front of our home froze like a plate of clear glass. Trudging out onto the ice with my husband and the family members who had come to visit we looked down through the ice and could see the fish. Powerful winter winds filled that first winter, which lasted well into spring. The ice began to break and melt, the water began to rise up over our shore line reaching the height of the dock and the boat house which was there. That boathouse was taken down by those same strong winds a couple of years later following usually very high water levels that continued through July (due to heavy rainfalls). In our first summer the water remained relatively high through June. By July we had a shoreline once again and sufficient water to launch a power boat with ease. The “up and down” of the water levels has caused much damage our shoreline that new environmental regulations and high costs make hard to fix. As a rule the water begins a very slow descent through August/September followed by a very rapid descent in the fall. It is that rapid descent and high winds that sees the Wolfe Islander ferry move to the winter dock.
During that second year on Wolfe Island I attended a community meeting where transportation was on the agenda. I asked about the changing water levels and was told the annual “up in the spring and down” was the way it is. Island resident Sandy McCready set up a meeting with Peter Yee from the International Joint Commission to talk about water levels in the Lake Ontario and Upper St. Lawrence as part of the International waterway and the when and why’s the water is let out. It provided good information but still the water went “ up and down.”
And complaints about the damage caused to shore lines, fish and wildlife, etc. and problems for recreational boaters, commercial fishing and tourism that the controlled water regulations have caused, have gone on for years.
Recently however, we have been made aware of a NEW plan to control water levels titled Plan BV7 released by the International Joint Commission which aims to restore the natural flow of the river , address environmental concerns, improve life for river residents as well as satisfy commercial shippers and Hydro producers. Watch for dates set for ‘Public consultation of the Plan BV7’ with possible implementation by 2013. Islanders and all those interested in the welfare of the St. Lawrence will find more information and an outline of the plan at: www.savetheriver.org. Save the River is an organization dedicated to saving the Upper St. Lawrence River, and is located in Clayton, NY
Around Town: The grade 7 and 8 class at Marysville Public School has entered a Parks Canada Contest Parks Canada. They have submitted their Canadian history video about “The Mounties of Fort Walsh”.They need votes. If they make “Top Ten”, they have a chance to win a class trip to Banff National Park. To vote: http://www.myparkspass.ca/video-gallery

Posted by M Knott at 06:55 PM
February 02, 2012
The Wolfe Island Network 'encourages activity and involvement'

Anyone coming to Wolfe Island these days probably thinks the island has gone into hibernation despite the fact that the ferry continues to operate from the village of Marysville. Traffic to and from the island, except at morning and late afternoon peak periods, is down…. Way down.

Like other tourist destinations where businesses close up for the winter, Marysville has come to a standstill except for Fargo's, Megaly's, and the WIPP. A canon ball could course its way down the main street without hitting a thing…. Or so it appears.

But in the big scheme of things Wolfe Island is perhaps experiencing its busiest winter in years. Aside from the regular winter activities, church and school functions, AGM's, and regular meetings of its many organizations, committee planning for summer events, and dining at the WIPP (WI Pub & Pizzeria) there has been a surge in community participation, involvement and activity among all island age groups.

Some might say the surge has come as a result of the new, hockey sized artificial ice rink, proudly maintained by members of the island's Community Centre Board. And indeed the rink, dreamed about for many years, has brought about a new enthusiasm and excitement about the skating programs, hockey and free skating opportunities, and programs for children and youth that were not available for years due to changing winter weather conditions.

But a new group, The Wolfe Island Network for a Healthy Community (WIN), brought together community (not for profit) and municipal (Frontenac Islands) organizations along with the City of Kingston and Frontenac County to find ways of promoting islanders health and well being and is now active on the island. Based on information collected from an ad hoc group to form the Network (WI Medical Clinic, Friends of Big Sandy Bay, WI Boat Club, the Early Year's Centre WI Transportation Committee), they included results of a health needs assessment, a community profile, and a Rural/Urban Health Status Report from KFL&A Public Health, and they submitted an application to the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, Healthy Communities Fund. They received a grant to plan and carry out initiatives focused particularly for youth and seniors. A WIN management committee oversees Network activities with the project coordinator, Kayo Murakami-Wood. Their email address is win.healthycommunity@gmail.com

While the island boasts Euchre and Ping Pong groups, it has added to the list a number of new initiatives including Fall Harvest Community Lunches with the school children, a series of workshops/talks (hobbies,travel) led by members of the Wolfe Island community, partnerships with Kingston Seniors Association and the KFL & A Health Unit, smoking cessation initiatives, foot care/blood pressure checks, Kingston Gets Active in Partnership with WIN encouraging healthier choices, a pedometer (walking) public library program. www.kingstongetsactive.ca, quilting classes, a weekly walking program at Sacred Heart School, broomball, and an exciting program of activities at the rink and, finally, a new initiative will be undertaken to develop an after school program that incorporates physical activity and healthy eating. All in all it has been an interesting fall and winter on Wolfe Island. Amazing what one small community can achieve. For further information check out the Wolfe Island Network at: www.wolfeisland.com

Around Town: Council meets on Howe Island, Monday,Feb. 13,2012 6:30 pm

Chili Fest Sunday Feb. 19th , begins at 1 pm at the Wolfe Island Community Centre .

Posted by M Knott at 10:45 AM